WITNESS has long partnered and supported activists working to end violence against women. Through our networks we recently learned of ¡Hasta Aqui No Mas! (Draw the Line!), a multimedia campaign aimed at Latino men and boys in Canada with the intention of confronting sexual violence against women through education, empowerment and the promotion of consent and accountability in relationships.

¡Hasta Aqui No Mas! is a project of MUJER, an NGO dedicated to amplifying the voices of and supporting the rights of Latin American women and girls in Canada. I spoke with Fran Rawlings Quintero, MUJER’s Director of Programming, via email about the campaign.

“Desafiendo Amigos/ Challenging Friends” one of the public messaging videos created by MUJER Canada as part of the “Hasta Aqui No Mas/Draw the Line” campaign

Q: Can you describe briefly the “Hasta Aqui No Mas/ Draw the Line” campaign and why MUJER decided to create it?

Fran: The umbrella campaign, Draw-the-Line, put out a call for proposals to people in the province of Ontario, to challenge and question how they could respond to situations of sexual violence against women and girls. MUJER saw this as an opportunity to build on our work and confront the silence around the issue of men’s sexual violence against women. We wanted to go beyond asking why the abuse happens, and inspire men and boys to take action.

We first held five focus groups hosted across Ontario with 42 male participants to better understand the Latino man’s perspective and came up with ideas for how to begin changing attitudes and behaviors towards sexual violence. We then formed an advisory committee consisting of several participants and, with their feedback, developed messaging and two PSAs that would speak primarily to men. One video focused on men challenging their peers (embedded above), and the other on parents teaching youth to interrupt their peers who are disrespecting women and girls (watch here).

A "Draw the Line" focus group. Photo courtesy MUJER
A “Draw the Line” focus group. Photo courtesy MUJER

What goals does the campaign hope to achieve through targeting men and boys?

For sexual violence to end, we need men to step up and take responsibility to change their own sexist attitudes and behavior, and to challenge other men when they are behaving in misogynistic and oppressive ways.

Sexual violence against Latin-American women and girls is deeply rooted in and connected to systems of oppression (such as patriarchy and colonialism), power inequities, rape culture and harmful gender norms (male privilege).  Presenting alternative models of masculinity is crucial to challenge sexist assumptions that lead to sexual violence. Our hope that this project can give community groups and individuals here in Canada and around the world a tool to work with and build on in our work to ending violence against women and girls.

Through this project we are working to demystify racialized conceptions of masculinity – that is, stereotypical assumptions of what it means to be a Latin-American man. Our aim is to engage Latin American men as allies to positively influence their male peers and motivate them to play an active role in ending sexual violence as well as promote messages about consent.

How are you reaching your audiences?

We are engaging on every level, online, hosting in-person screenings and developing training materials that can be used beyond the first interaction with the campaign. Through each of these activities we are engaging the community to discuss, challenge and confront the systemic social problems and institutions that perpetuate mens’ violence.

We have held 10 screenings across Ontario with diverse groups including men, youth and mixed groups. We have created a PSA Manual for community groups to use to screen the videos, a brochure on how individuals can take action and we recently completed a social media campaign inviting the community to share how they work to confront sexual violence using the hashtag #HastaAquiNoMas (Draw the Line).

How are you measuring the impact of “Hasta Aqui No Mas/ Draw the Line” in both the short term and the longer term?

MUJER is measuring the impact of this project in a number of ways. To truly understand the efficacy of this work we have focused on direct interviews and evaluations with participants in the project and individuals that have participated in the activities. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, but it is always followed up with a question of ‘what’s next?’ One of the most important findings from the Hasta Aqui No Mas / Draw the Line project, was that violence permeated men’s experiences. There has not been any spaces to discuss and reflect on how issues of violence affects males (e.g. violence or sexual assault from fathers or other males). There are males in our community that are accountable and active in the eradication of gender violence in the community, however, we need to foster more spaces where men can confront personal issues of violence as well.

In terms of direct impact, we have heard back from participants on how much this project has impacted their life.  One participant found the experience of having a conversation about sexism, machismo and sexual violence, in a confidential and open setting with other men in his community, to be empowering and very important. He said that it motivated him to make a greater conscious effort to “have critical discussions with his sons and daughter about violence and sexism.”

To find out more about MUJER, visit them on Facebook, Twitter or at their website. Get in touch with MUJER via email at info@mujer.ca.

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